19-Jan-2010All month
 
Modern Art

Steve decided we should finish the night with this, despite not liking it. Or, apparently, being any good at it.

This game was possibly the first time we'd seen somebody put up a double auction without the second card. Then again, this was the first time we'd played the game with Joe. So other groups must play games differently to us. Who'd have thought it.

Tel made the mistake of leaving the room a couple of times, during once round the table auctions. Obviously we refused to tell him what the current bid was when he got back. He didn't seem too keen on our suggestion that he should just make a bid and we'd tell him if it was valid. We liked it though.

The only other really noticeable thing about this game is that not a single painting was sold for Christian P. At least one of us were left wishing we had a lot less of them and a lot more of something useful by the end of the game. The one of us being me. Sigh.

Joe took a narrow victory against Tel to claim his first win against the Piddinghoe crowd. Sadly we couldn't persuade him to do an Obama dance of victory.
 
Scores : Unknown 398, Tel 389, Andy 366, Paul 311, Steve 266
Ratings: Unknown 7, Tel 8, Andy 7, Paul 8, Steve 6
Winner(s): Unknown

Through the Desert

The second game of the night was another odd one. Itís not unusual for setting up to take longer than the actual game. Usually itís not over quite so quickly though.

In normal Piddinghoe fashion, we were more interested in stitching each other up in the initial placements than in grabbing a nice area. So it was probably no great surprise that at the end of the game, some chains hadnít expanded beyond their initial camel. Of course, the Great Pink Camel Rush of 2010 didnít help. Andy and Tel both decided they wanted the majority in pink. Paul decided he fancied a bunch of them too to surround an area. We blinked. Pink gone. Game over.

Joe and Steve had wisely decided to stay out of that little competition. Joe busied himself with placing camels onto water and beside trees. Steve mopped up the majorities in most of the remaining colours. This proved to be the winning strategy.

Packing up took longer than playing the game too.
 
Scores : Steve 55, Andy 46, Unknown 37, Tel 33, Paul 32
Ratings: Steve 8, Andy 7, Unknown 6, Tel 7, Paul 7
Winner(s): Steve

Transamerica

When we need a shortish game that we all know to know, we can't go far wrong with Transamerica.

As usual, we all complained that we had to connect cities in "all five corners of the board". Judging from Paul's score, it appears that at least one of us was telling the truth. Or, alternatively, just wasn't very good at the game.

Otherwise, the scores were reasonably tight. They'd have been even tighter if Steve hadn't lucked into somebody building a route exactly where he needed in the final round. Next time we'll be sure to peek at his cards before building anywhere.
 
Scores : Steve 8, Unknown 6, Andy 5, Tel 4, Paul 0
Ratings: Steve 7, Unknown 7, Andy 8, Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Steve

Web of Power

With Essen just behind us, and new games still to be played, it would have been rude not to ... play some older games! We were joined by Joe tonight. He regularly plays in a different group with Steve, so he must be a glutton for punishment to want to "enjoy" more of Steve's unique gaming style.

First game of the night was Web of Power. This used to be a favourite of the group. I guess it still is. It's just competing for time against a lot of games now. It packs a lot of game into a short time though, which is something that most games can't lay claim to.

We play Web of Power in a very deliberate, some would say tidy, manner. Somebody opens up an area, everyone else piles in and fills it up. Getting a house or two in is nice, an advisor even better. Then the next player is forced to fall on their sword and open up a new area. And so on, and so forth. Occasionally somebody will sneak into a new area early to try for a chain. That's usually a cause for great mutterings and raising of eyebrows.

So I don't canít begin to explain this session. Maybe weíve just forgotten the ďone and rightĒ way to play it. From the start, we threw caution to the wind. We opened up new regions with gay abandon. We recklessly built a metropolis of cities, mostly surrounded by empty plains. What we didnít do was to bother placing any of those little adviser cylinders.

Come the halfway scoring, there were only three points separating first and last place. Everyone had a fairly even scattering of cities, but still no advisers.

Moving into the second half, it was clear we were going to have to start using the advisers eventually. We were running out of places to build cities. But nobody seemed keen, seeing richer pickings elsewhere. Eventually Paul cracked and dropped a pair into somewhere central. And then another pair on his next turn. Suddenly, the adviser rush was on. For about one more turn.

By the end of the game, things were a little more stretched out. At the back, Andy was delighted to Ė just Ė make it to the first corner of the score track. At the other end of the pack, Tel was less delighted to see himself pipped for victory by one point.
 
Scores : Paul 46, Tel 45, Unknown 40, Steve 39, Andy 29
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 8, Unknown 7, Steve 7, Andy 6
Winner(s): Paul